Previously I considered a passage of scripture that described a dark cloud which falls upon us all, temporarily blinding us from the love of God. This phenomenon has also been referred to as the “Dark Night of the Soul,” and this condition seems to describe Mother Teresa’s experience perfectly.
Though the woman dedicated her life to the service of her fellow man and constantly professed her love for God, she admitted in letters and personal writings that she had ceased to feel His love coming back to her. In her own words she expressed that “even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness.” She also wrote that “for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”
After ten years of this darkness she described a month of reprieve, a time where “the long darkness … that strange suffering” was lifted away and she could feel God’s love again. Later the darkness returned.
Of course one could be cynical about the whole thing. Maybe she was hiding secret sins, maybe she had a mental condition, maybe she was agitating a passing sensation into a consuming obsession.
But having no compelling evidence that these were the case, I prefer to give her the benefit of a doubt. I like to remind myself that even Jesus had his moment of disconnection where he cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). My assumption is that Mother Teresa was simply caught in that same dark cloud which falls on each of us. It comes upon us at different periods of life and for different durations, and for her it appears to have been particularly late in life and of particularly long duration. But I like to believe that like her Savior, she felt her way faithfully through it and finally rested in the light at the end of the tunnel.